Monday, July 09, 2018

Mae West: Mauve Decadent

The drama critics who reviewed a revival of “Sex” written by MAE WEST, staged recently in Los Angeles to great acclaim, were able to appreciate the 1928 play (as you saw from the two reviews we re-posted). But let’s go back in time to see what the critics of her era had to say. This review is from 1928 and was published in Mae’s hometown newspaper during the Prohibition Era when a glass of five cents beer was especially missed.
• • One Phase of "Diamond Lil" Vividly True • •
• • Drama Critic Burns Mantle wrote:  Giving Mae West her due in respect to the writing and staging of the play "Diamond Lil," she has performed one service for old New York that is in its way historical. With a fidelity that is not to be gainsaid she has reproduced, in her third act, a picture of the customs and costumes of the old Bowery of thirty years ago that is sufficiently authentic to be, as a news writer has told you, downright entertaining. The atmosphere of the drinking room back of the bar and adjoining the dance room is redolent of fresh and stale beer.
• • The Mauve Decadent • • 
• • Burns Mantle wrote:  The items of chief interest include the wasp waists of the long-skirted women of the district and later. And a rough but hilarious time is enjoyed by all. The scene is staged and directed with something resembling artistic verisimilitude and I think a moving picture should be made of the entire act and filed away in the archives of the city for the edification and enlightenment of a gin drinking posterity.
• • Burns Mantle wrote:  Miss Mae West's characterization of the be-diamoned Lil is also a truthful study of an authentic type.
• • Source: Drama Review, p. 36, from The N.Y. Daily News; published on Thursday, 19 April 1928.
• • On Friday, 9 July 1937 • •
• • "Mae's Recent Husband: Sue Manager for Alienation of Affections" • •
• • Los Angeles, July 9. United Press — Mae West's recently acknowledged husband threatened tonight, through attorneys, to sue her manager, James Timony, for alienation of affections. 
• • Nope! Mae West never performed at Neir’s • •
• • Mae West never performed at Neir's — — nor did she ever set foot in this all-male bastion of sweaty factory laborers.
• • For decades, laborers went to bars to drink, relax, spit, smoke cigars, curse, discuss politics, and (most importantly) to get away from wives and women.
• • Learn more about Woodhaven, a factory hub during the brief time the West family resided there.
• • LINK: No, Mae West was never in Neir's! Find out why!
• • Overheard in Hollywood • •
• • As soon as she has finished her next picture, "It Ain't No Sin,” Mae West plans to make a personal appearance tour of the United States.
• • In Her Own Words • •
• • Mae West said: "Men: I like some men for class and distinction, some for brains, some for looks, and some for an understanding nature.  I like men to come up and see me."
• • Mae West said: “Yeah, they kinda went for me.”
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • A NYC daily newspaper mentioned Mae West.
• • Official censorship, The Daily News reluctantly agreed, "appears as the only solution.” • •
• • Jay Maeder wrote: Specifically, the reason for the current fuss was "The Drag," a homoerotic comedy that had been written by a manifestly wanton woman called Mae West and which had already quite horrified Connecticut. Jolted by Walker's edict, dozens of theater-world leaders now met at the Hotel Astor to organize themselves into a self-policing body, the Committee of Nine, representing the producing managers, Actors' Equity and the Dramatists' League.
• • Jay Maeder wrote: The first thing the committee did was to ban "The Drag" from New York forever.  . . .
• • Article from The N.Y. Daily News; published on Wednesday, 29 March 2000
• • The evolution of 2 Mae West plays that keep her memory alive • • 
• • A discussion with Mae West playwright LindaAnn LoSchiavo — — 
• •
• • The Mae West Blog celebrates its 13th anniversary • •  
• • Thank you for reading, sending questions, and posting comments during these past thirteen years. Not long ago, we entertained 3,497 visitors. And we reached a milestone recently when we completed 3,900 blog posts. Wow!  
• • By the Numbers • •
• • The Mae West Blog was started fourteen years ago in July 2004. You are reading the 3997th blog post. Unlike many blogs, which draw upon reprinted content from a newspaper or a magazine and/ or summaries, links, or photos, the mainstay of this blog is its fresh material focused on the life and career of Mae West, herself an American original.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online:


• • Photo:
• • Mae West • onstage in 1928

• • Feed — —
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